What is acute sinusitis?

Acute sinusitis is a short-term sinus infection. The sinuses are four paired cavities (spaces) in the head. They are connected by narrow channels. The sinuses make thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose, cleaning the nose. Typically filled with air, the sinuses can become blocked by fluid. When this happens, they can become infected.

What causes acute sinusitis?

Acute sinusitis is often caused by a common cold or allergies. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection or fungus that causes the sinuses to swell and become blocked.

What are the symptoms of acute sinusitis?

The main symptoms include:

  • Facial pain/pressure/tenderness
  • Stuffy nose
  • Thick yellow or green nasal discharge
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Congestion/cough

You may also experience:

  • Fever
  • Ear pain
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Toothache

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/10/2018.


  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Sinusitis. Accessed 2/14/2018.
  • American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Sinus Infection. Accessed 2/14/2018.
  • Asthmas and Allergy Foundation of America. Rhinitis (Nasal Allergies). Accessed 2/14/2018.

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